The hearts of marine archaeologists everywhere are abuzz with this news - five vessels covering a period of roughly 500 years, from 100 B.C.E. to 400 C.E. were lost attempting to reach a safe harbor.
The cargo included wine from Italy, prized fish sauce from Spain and north Africa, and a mysterious cargo of metal ingots from Italy, possibly to be used in the construction of statues or weaponry. Scientists believe that the timeline from this small sample suggests that at first Rome was a net exporter of manufactures but became a net importer over time.